New DA metro mayors in Gauteng, especially Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse, are coming under increasing pressure from the ANC to form their mayoral executive committees (MMCs) as well as other governance committees, to ensure the councils are fully functional.
It’s been almost three weeks since Phalatse, Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams and Ekurhuleni Mayor Tania Campbell, were elected with the support of other opposition parties to lead the metros.
However, they have been unable to announce the MMCs as they are in deadlocks with their partners over what portfolios to allocate to their allies. The DA has claimed that its deadlock with ActionSA is due to the latter demanding the powerful positions of finance, which the party finds unreasonable.
A Johannesburg council meeting scheduled for Thursday did not take place. This means that only the mayors are running the show without any support teams.
The ANC in Johannesburg this week said it was concerned that residents are suffering due to lack the city governance. It said Phalatse was unable to announce her team because the coalition partners did not agree with the DA’s terms and conditions of the agreements.
The ANC statement read:The DA is trying very hard to strong arm and persuade the other parties to agree with its anti-poor polices. This means the city is in cruise control mode without proper political leadership, and the core service delivery departments will remain without MMCs.
The party has also sought to cast Phalatse as uncaring and unresponsive in her approach to the electricity crisis in Soweto, where residents have been protesting for weeks at power cuts. Phalatse has insisted that whatever solution to the crisis, the residents who can afford have to pay their electricity bills before Eskom can reconnect.
In an interview with City Press, Phalatse said the new administration was going to dealing with the culture of non-payment through education and awareness to make people understand why it was important to pay for services:But for those who can’t pay we’ll have to introduce them to extended social packages of services for indigent residents so that we can access rebates on their water, electricity, property rates and to also access services that can pull them out of poverty.
She said her administration also wanted to introduce incentives for whistle-blowers. “We will establish a specialised unit to crackdown on illegal connections of electricity and we have already garnered a lot of intelligence on the ground as to who is behind these criminal acts. Some of them are City Power contractors who are charging people illegally in the grid,” said Phalatse.
But the ANC accused her of going against an agreement that the previous administration had reached with Soweto residents and Eskom. “The mayor is unable to resolve the Soweto electricity crisis, which has seen many remain in the dark. She failed to meet with Soweto residents because she does not have a plan,” the ANC said.
On its online platforms, the ANC published statements attributed to Phalatse in which she allegedly said: “We can no longer afford to continue providing electricity to communities who do not give us revenue.”
But the mayor described the this statement and others that the ANC has publicised under the hashtag #Joburgisleaderless as fake.